With so much dialogue around healthy and unhealthy fats, it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff, but one thing we do know is that many of our favourite wellness gurus rely on ghee as a healthy alternative to butter. We found out why...
So what exactly is ghee?
It’s a form of clarified butter that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian cuisine, where it’s prized for its wellness benefits. The clarifying process removes the milk solids and water from the butter, leaving behind a rich liquid with none of the lactose-intolerant side effects.
What are the benefits?
Free from casein and lactose, ghee is easily tolerated by people who have allergies and intolerances to dairy. Because these factors have been removed, ghee also boasts a higher smoke point than butter, making it ideal for high-heat cooking. Ghee made from organic grass-fed butter also contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which may help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation and lower blood pressure. And if that wasn’t enough, it also boasts a unique vitamin profile, including K2, which builds strong bones, and vitamins A, D and E; boosts digestion; and can help lubricate joints.
And what does it taste like?
With a rich, nutty flavour, ghee provides excellent natural flavouring and can be used in everything from curries to sautéed dishes. Try using it in place of butter – spread on toast, drizzle on popcorn, stir fry vegetables or sear meat. Foodies also say it makes a delicious addition to home-made hollandaise sauce.
Fat and calorie wise, how does it compare to butter?
Although ghee contains 112 calories per tablespoon to butter’s 102 calories and a slightly higher percentage of cholesterol (11% vs 10%), health experts agree its benefits make it nutritionally superior to butter. Plus, due to its deep, intense flavour, less can be used – one tablespoon of ghee can replace up to three tablespoons of oil or butter in a recipe, so it could save you calories in the long-run.
How much should you be eating?
A little goes a long way – think of ghee as a few-times-a-week treat, not a daily necessity. Like the occasional square (or two) of dark chocolate, the key to reaping ghee’s benefits is moderation.
Where can you get it?
It’s widely available in supermarkets (if you can’t find it, try the international aisle or head to your local health food shop), but it’s also possible to make your own at home. Just be sure you’re using high-quality organic butter (ideally from pasture-fed cows) for optimal nutritional benefits and follow an online guide.
The bottom line?
Though it’s not something you should be adding to every meal, try incorporating ghee into your kitchen repertoire for an added health boost.